Debris field found in South Carolina amid search for missing F-35

A debris field has been found in South Carolina during the search for an F-35B fighter jet that disappeared over the state, officials in Charleston confirmed. 

Joint Base Charleston officials said Monday that teams have located a debris field in Williamsburg County, around two hours northeast of the joint base. 

Base officials did not confirm if the debris is from the missing jet, but they added in a follow-up post that teams have been working to locate the U.S. Marine Corp fighter jet and are transitioning to a recovery phase. 

“We would like to thank all of our mission partners, as well as local, country, and state authorities, for their dedication and support throughout the search and as we transition to the recovery phase,” the base wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. 

Base officials asked members of the community to avoid the area as recovery teams work to secure the field. 

The advanced $80 million jet disappeared after its pilot “safety ejected” for unknown reasons over North Charleston. The pilot was taken to a local hospital and is in stable condition while the incident is under investigation, base officials said. 

Both local authorities and the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, S.C., are assisting with the recovery process.

Earlier Monday, the Marine Corps issued a service-wide stand-down order for all aviation units inside and outside of the country. In a service-wide email, the Marine Corps said the stand-down includes discussions led by aviation commanders “focusing on the fundamentals of safe flight operations, ground safety, maintenance and flight procedures, and maintaining combat readiness.” 

Neither the Pentagon nor Marine Corps immediately responded to a request for comment.